Congratulations Professor Lockyer!

Dr Nick LockyerThe School of Chemistry at the University of Manchester have awarded Nick Lockyer a Chair in Physical Chemistry.

Nick came to the University (then UMIST) to read Chemistry in the late 1980s and continued to study for a PhD in Laser Ionisation Mass Spectrometry of Biomolecules, awarded in 1996. His postdoctoral research involved the development of the Biotof, an imaging ToF-SIMS instrument, with a focus on laser post-ionisation, sputtered neutral mass spectrometry (SNMS).

He was awarded a Leverhulme Special Research Fellowship to further develop the Biotof as a Chemical Microscope, following which he was appointed lecturer in Chemistry. Nick briefly moved to the School of Chemical Engineering and Analytical Science (CEAS), during the merger of UoM and UMIST in 2004, before moving back to Chemistry in 2011. With his research group in the Manchester Institute of Biotechnology (MIB), and also the Photon Science Institute (PSI), he has explored a range of imaging mass spectral modalities in the area of biology and biomaterials, together with technique and instrument development.

As the result of successful bids to EPSRC and the Royce Institute he was awarded a major grant to replace the Ionoptika J105 3D Chemical Imager with a new instrument. This will involve consolidating the research group in the PSI providing opportunities to further explore advanced materials and photonic approaches to mass spectrometry.


Dr Szula!

Congratulations to Ewa on being awarded her PhD!

A just reward for all her hard work. Well done!

PhD – Lipidome and metabolome changes due to pharmacological stress

Characterising changes in the lipidome and metabolome of mammalian cells as a consequence of pharmacological induced stress

Advisory team: Dr Joanna Denbigh (80%), Professor Peter Gardner (10%)*, Dr Nick Lockyer (10%)*

Deadline: 31 March 2017

Characterising changes in the lipidome and metabolome of mammalian cells as a consequence of pharmacological induced stress affords new insight into biochemical processes associated with disease progression and the treatment thereof. Many diseases are linked with abnormal lipid metabolism. The chemical profiling of diseased and stressed biological systems through lipidomics and metabolomics is a powerful approach to understanding and ultimately controlling biological function.
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PhD Studentship

New insights into disease pathogenesis and therapy through high resolution mass spectrometry imaging

Dr Nick Lockyer, Dr Katie Moore, Prof Kaye Williams

3.5 year MRC DTP PhD Studentship (UK/EU)

Application Deadline: 18 November 2016

Various imaging modalities provide essential tools in modern biological and medical research. Immunohistochemistry (IHC) for example employs fluorophore- or enzyme-tagged antibodies to report the distribution of disease-associated proteins in pathological tissues. In this project we will explore the application of mass spectrometry imaging technology to provide a more quantitative and comprehensive distribution of diagnostic ions related to cancer biomarkers and drug therapy. This is important because of the heterogeneity of solid tumours containing a variety of cells involved in biological cross-talk and responding differently to drug intervention.

The approach will be based on the highly sensitive detection of established and novel anticancer metallo-drugs e.g. cisplatin and metal/nanoparticle-tagged antibodies binding to specific protein biomarkers. Samples will range from in-vitro cellular targets, to multi-cellular 3D tumour models and tissue microarrays. We will assess the performance characteristics of the latest secondary ion mass spectrometry imaging platforms in a series of calibration studies and perform benchmarking against the current state-of-the-art IHC approaches. This technology has the potential to precisely localise, on a sub-cellular scale, multiple biomarkers and metallo-drugs in a single-step measurement. The overall aim of the project is to develop and validate methodology demonstrating the power of secondary ion mass spectrometry imaging as a novel tool for diagnosis, intervention and the development of novel therapeutics for cancer and other diseases.

This is a highly interdisciplinary project providing excellent training opportunities in the application of advanced analytical technologies at the life sciences/medical interface. In addition the student will acquire niche research and core bioscience skills.

For more details contact Dr N Lockyer (

Funding Notes

This project is to be funded under the MRC Doctoral Training Partnership. Full details on how to apply can be found on our website
Applications are invited from UK/EU nationals only. Applicants must have obtained, or be about to obtain, at least an upper second class honours degree (or equivalent) in a relevant subject.


  • Angelo, M. et al. Multiplexed ion beam imaging of human breast tumours. Nature Medicine 20, 436 (2014).
  • Wedlock L.E. et al. NanoSIMS multi-element imaging reveals internalisation and nucleolar targeting for a highly-charged polynuclear platinum compound. Chem. Commun. 49, 6944 (2013).
  • Steinhauser, M.L. et al. Multi-isotope imaging mass spectrometry quantifies stem cell division and metabolism. Nature 481, 516 (2012).

PhD studentship on multimodal imaging

Diagnosing the Masses – Molecular pathology through multimodal mass spectrometry imaging.

Position Filled – we look forward to welcoming Danielle McDougall to the group.


Paper – Water cluster beam imaging of brain tissue

Open AccessOpen Access

Mass spectrometric imaging of brain tissue by time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry – How do polyatomic primary beams C60+, Ar2000+, water-doped Ar2000+ and (H2O)6000+ compare?

Irma Berrueta Razo, Sadia Sheraz (née Rabbani), Alex Henderson, Nicholas P. Lockyer and John C. Vickerman
Rapid Commun. Mass Spectrom. 29 (2015) 1851–1862

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SARC on Twitter

We’ve joined the Twittersphere!

Follow @SARCUoM to hear the latest developments in SIMS, and associated research, from the group and other items of interest.

PhD presentations

Well done to Afnan, Giles and Jo for their contribution to the final year PhD talks.  All three did very well.  Jo was awarded second prize in the MIB session!

Paper – SIMS—A precursor and partner to contemporary mass spectrometry

SIMS—A precursor and partner to contemporary mass spectrometry
John C. Vickerman and Nicholas Winograd
International Journal of Mass Spectrometry (2014)

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PhD Position – lipid imaging in neuroinflammation

We have a position available for a PhD student to study the “Development of lipid imaging and lipidomics tools to explore neuroinflammation“. This is a joint project with Prof. Peter Gardner in the School of Chemical Engineering and Analytical Science and MIB.

Deadline for applications is 26 November 2014.

More information on

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Paper – ToF-SIMS as tool for profiling lipids in cancer and other diseases


ToF-SIMS as tool for profiling lipids in cancer and other diseases
J.L. Denbigh and N.P. Lockyer
Materials Science and Technology (2014)

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Paper – Increased ion yields using water cluster beams


Prospect of increasing secondary ion yields in ToF-SIMS using water cluster primary ion beams

S. Sheraz (née Rabbani), A. Barber, I. Berrueta Razo, J. S. Fletcher, N.P. Lockyer and J. C. Vickerman
Surf. Interface Anal. (2014)

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Paper – C60 and H2O clusters for tissue analysis

Publication (open access):Open Access

Comparing C60+ and (H2O)n+ clusters for mouse brain tissue analysis
Irma Berrueta Razo, Sadia Sheraz, Alex Henderson, Nicholas P. Lockyer and John C. Vickerman
Surf. Interface Anal. (2014)

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Paper – Lipid profiling of frog embryos

Publication (open access):Open Access

Spatiotemporal lipid profiling during early embryo development of Xenopus laevis using dynamic Time-of-Flight Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (ToF-SIMS) Imaging
Hua Tian, John S. Fletcher, Raphael Thuret, Alex Henderson, Nancy Papalopulu, John C. Vickerman and Nicholas P. Lockyer
Journal of Lipid Research (2014)

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Dr Jimmy Moore

Congratulations to Jimmy on gaining his PhD in Computational Approaches for the Interpretation of ToF-SIMS Data!

Well done!

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